More Republicans on Thursday said they backed a ban on the special accessories used by the suspected Las Vegas gunman to allow many of his semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), a vulnerable Republican, is teaming up with Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) on bipartisan legislation that would outlaw the devices, known as “bump stocks.” Other House and Senate Democrats already have introduced similar bills.
Two of Curbelo’s Florida GOP colleagues, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE, said Thursday morning they would support the ban. Reps. Tom Cole (Okla.), Kevin YoderKevin YoderHow Republicans split on the Harvey aid, fiscal dealHouse GOP group puts staff in six new districtsProgressive group running ads opposing tax cuts for the wealthyMORE (Kan.) and Lynn Jenkins (Kan.), three red-state Republicans, also said they back the ban.
“This might be the type of legislation that might get broad bipartisan support because it’s hard to make the argument that there is a Second Amendment encroachment on banning this kind of accessory that is designed only to create mayhem and more violence,” Ros-Lehtinen told The Hill.
“Curbelo is a trusted legislator and partnering up with a Democrat counterpart — it’s got potential,” she said.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif) also told The Hill he supports a bump stock ban, as did Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.). Both are moderates.
Even Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for nowGun proposal picks up GOP supportGOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of termMORE (R-Wis.) seems to be warming to the idea. Earlier this week, he argued that more funding for mental-health programs was the best way for Congress to respond to mass shootings. But on Thursday morning, he appeared open to the idea of a ban on bump stocks.
“Clearly that’s something we need to look into,” Ryan told conservative radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt.
Other strong Second Amendment supporters on Capitol Hill also signaled they’re open to considering some type of gun reform in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, which left at least 58 people dead and more than 500 others injured.
A key member of Ryan’s GOP leadership team, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersPutting GOP women in CongressPolitical decency may triumph despite Trump’s DACA decisionRyan calls for ‘permanent legislative solution’ on DACAMORE (R-Wash.), told ABC News she’s open to gun-reform legislation. And House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a gun owner, questioned the need for anybody to be able to modify their rifles into something resembling a fully automatic weapon.
“I think it’s something we need to evaluate. If machine guns are illegal, does this create a machine gun? I’m disturbed by what I’ve learned,” Walden said in an interview with The Hill. The chairman said he hasn’t made any decisions yet, but he’ll look at the various bills.
“I think a lot of Americans were shocked when they heard about these devices that are readily available online and turn a rifle into a machine gun. I don’t see a purpose for that,” Walden added.
Congress has tried unsuccessfully to pass gun-reform legislation in recent years — most notably after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
But this time feels different, Walden said.
“We’d be banning a device that turns a rifle into a machine gun. Machine guns are already illegal. This deserves very serious consideration,” Walden said.
In addition to the trio of Florida Republicans, a number of House GOP moderates said earlier that they back a ban on bump stocks. That list includes Tuesday Group Chairman Charlie Dent (Pa.) and Reps. Ryan Costello (Pa.), Leonard Lance (N.J.), Pete King (N.Y.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.).
Rep. Bill FloresBill FloresGun proposal picks up GOP supportGingrich: Banning rapid fire gun modification is ‘common sense’GOP lawmaker to unveil bill banning gun bump stocksMORE (R-Texas), the former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee and a gun owner, became the first lawmaker to call for a ban on bump stock devices.
–This report was updated at 12:24 p.m.